“Dream Big, Start Small.”: The Philosophy of the Master and Owner of the Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in Mount Laurel.

 From Student to Master


           MOUNT LAUREL, NJ-- Master Keith Mazza of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu started his martial arts journey at the age of four in New York City’s Chinatown. “Our next door neighbor was a Kung Fu teacher from China; I used to play with his kids.” The Kung Fu teacher commented, reminiscing about his time as a youth in the 60’s and 70s.  At a young age, Master Mazza was enthralled by the martial arts and met a lot of resistance when he realized Kung Fu was something he wanted to do as a career. “While some people say it was a fad - I’ve never stopped training. I’ve always loved it and it’s something I’ve felt has been in my blood.” Mazza made sure to train his skills everyday and fit his practice in between school, work, and home life.

            The festivities, history, and culture of the East were also fascinating to Keith. “I’ve always been captivated by China, Japan, and Asian Studies,” In the 70s and 80s, martial arts schools were more structured and hierarchical. Students would be expected to wash and clean their schools before the teachers would arrive. In lessons, there was no talking back, or questioning authority without severe repercussions. This way of teaching instilled a great amount of discipline and respect for his seniors into Master Mazza. Keith’s humility, discipline and dedication to adhering to Chinese culture would earn him the respect of his mentors. Mazza’s respect opened many doors for him to private lessons and learning hidden techniques of Kung Fu that were not taught to the general public. Combining discipline, talent, and invaluable knowledge and strategy, Keith Mazza became a renowned martial artist in New York. He was noticed by Grandmaster William Cheung, the inheritor of the Traditional Wing Chun fighting style of Kung Fu. Grandmaster Cheung took Keith under his wing as his first ever closed door student. Keith would tour the world with Grandmaster Cheung by assisting him in seminars, training security, and fighting numerous other martial arts schools and professional fighters.

Elissa Hirsch is seen below Thursday, September 30th with Keith Mazza Jr. 


            Despite his love for the martial arts, Keith never thought he would actually open up a Kung Fu school of his own. Martial arts studios rarely ever stay afloat by student income. Typically the instructor works another or multiple jobs to keep the school open unless they are extremely well known and respected. Keith knew that in order for Traditional Wing Chun to live on, he and his fellow classmates would have to spread the lessons and philosophy just as their mentor did before them.

            Although the location of the school has changed a couple of times, Master Mazza has had it for over 30 years and it is still thriving. His studio is nearly 5,000 square feet and located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. It features a modern, safe environment with hardwood floors, state of the art equipment and everything else needed for training martial arts. When asked about designing the school, Master Mazza took a contemporary approach. “I wanted it to be a fun family environment. ”Instead of staying in painful structured positions for hours and treating students coldly, Master Mazza is warm with his teaching style. “I’ve tailored the training toward today,” he said “And I let people work at their own pace.”.

          At Master Mazza’s school, real life application of techniques is stressed over sequences of moves and forms that are aesthetically appealing. He encourages all of his students to ask questions when they see something they are confused by or are concerned about the application of a technique. He truly cares about all of his students and is always willing to take the time to review the basics for people who just started or need a refresher. When referencing how he trains his students, he states, “I hope you never have to defend yourself in life. But god forbid you do - I want to make sure that you can.”

            Master Mazza teaches multiple martial arts styles at his school and on Somble. Somble is an online marketplace for fitness content creators. Master Mazza’s goal on Somble is to have the largest online martial arts library in the world. He uploads different training programs and content frequently every week from various martial arts styles such Traditional Wing Chun, Kali (A Filipino knife and stick fighting style), Tai Chi, Xing Yi, Ba Gua, and various other martial arts styles can be studied at his school and now online. People from all walks of life come to Master Mazza in search of knowledge in one or many of the facets of health and wellness that he purveys. Whether it be fitness, mental clarity, self-defense, or fight training, Master Mazza’s physical and online school is a one stop shop for any avid martial artist.







JERSEY CITY, NJ --Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA), continues it's mobile shredding and household hazardous (HHW) waste/computer recycling program this fall.

New Jersey recycling laws and rules state that all residents, businesses and institutions must recycle -- it’s simply the law. 

So here’s the opportunity to get rid of those personal or confidential documents that are creating extra clutter in your home or office. But do not bring, newspapers, magazines, binder clips, cardboard, books or binders. 

“In an effort to accommodate those wishing to participate, please limit your documents to no more than 40 pounds,” said HCIA, the autonomous public agency serving residents and businesses. 

HCIA added that documents will be commercially shredded safely, privately and properly by licensed specialists. Residents should bring documents in whatever type of container preferred. 

While the events are open to Hudson County residents, remember, businesses are not eligible to participate.


Here's the schedule (with additional details below): 

Saturday, September 18th Mobile Shredding, Harrison, (Red Bull Arena)

Saturday, September 18th Mobile Shredding, Union City (Jose Marti School Field Parking Lot)

Saturday, September 25th Mobile Shredding, Bayonne (Gregg Park, Lot #1)

Saturday, October 2nd Mobile Shredding, West New York (DPW)

Saturday, October 2nd Mobile Shredding, Kearny (West Hudson Park)

Sunday, October 3rd HHW/Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty, Bayonne (Gregg Park, Lot #1)

Sunday, October 3rd HHW/Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty, Secaucus (High School Parking Lot)

Saturday, October 9th Mobile Shredding, Jersey City (Lincoln Park, Duncan Ave Parking Lot)

Saturday, October 16th HHW/Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty, Jersey City (Municipal Complex)

Saturday, October 16th HHW/Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty, Kearny (DPW)

Saturday, October 23rd Mobile Shredding, North Bergen (TBD)

Saturday, October 30th Mobile Shredding, Hoboken (DPW)

Saturday, October 30th Mobile Shredding, Guttenberg (DPW)

Saturday, November 6th Mobile Shredding, Secaucus (High School Parking Lot) 

[Saturday, September 18th Mobile Shredding Harrison (Red Bull Arena North Parking Lot) Union City (Jose Marti School Field Parking Lot); Saturday, September 25th Mobile Shredding Bayonne (Gregg Park, Lot #1); Saturday, October 2nd Mobile Shredding West New York (DPW) Kearny (West Hudson Park) Sunday, October 3rd (Household Hazardous Waste) HHW /Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty Bayonne (Gregg Park, Lot #1) Secaucus (High School Parking Lot); Saturday, October 9th Mobile Shredding Jersey City (Lincoln Park, Duncan Ave Parking Lot); Saturday, October 16th HHW/Computer Recycling/Tire Amnesty Jersey City (Municipal Complex) Kearny (DPW); Saturday, October 23rd Mobile Shredding North Bergen (TBD); Saturday, October 30th Mobile Shredding Hoboken (DPW) Guttenberg (DPW); Saturday, November 6th Mobile Shredding Secaucus (High School Parking Lot)]

HCIA’s responsibilities include solid waste and recycling management, financing for public and private initiatives, redevelopment projects, transportation management, recreation services, alternative energy initiatives and environmental education, among other projects. 



HIGHLAND PARK, NJ--When several months ago I heard Raritan Valley Road Runners (RVRR) member Sonya Slyman use words like “heartwarming” and “soft” to convey how sitting on the club’s scholarship program committee made her feel, I thought it was newsworthy.

“ ‘As I get older, I’m more and more amazed by the younger generation’ ” she told fellow committee members, which originally included two others, of the candidates’ “energy and drive to accomplish things,” Slyman said candidly.

All the applicants had something they brought to the table “beyond their persistence in running,” she added, perhaps showing a bit of that motherly pride to see “the younger” athletes’ overall efforts both in or out of sports, she explained.

Some really young people are going to lead the charge” for us someday, she added.

And while the names of the first pair of scholarship winners was recently announced, as we neared the Johnson Park Zoo that chili Saturday morning to complete our walk, she repeated that ultimately it may be really hard to make the final decision.

Still, the committee finally did. And club members recently met Sean Castellano, (seen below) one of the first two chosen by Slyman and co-committee member, Beth Alterman, a high school teacher. (Slyman is currently an elementary school teacher and mom.)

Club president Wendy Reed on June 19 excitedly welcomed members to the third-quarter general membership meeting, held in Grove 5.

Castellano, a senior at Immaculata High School, and his father were present. Since middle school, running has guided the student, who feels he’ll run forever, he said. But right now he was set to receive a $1,000 scholarship check.

So it has been a very long 15-months,” Wendy said to a cluster of club members in attendance, citing the previous general membership meeting last year, also held outdoors after the Saturday group run.

She explained that last fall the club had started a scholarship program, which shaped up quickly, thanking club member Ray Petit “for being the innovator and dragging force behind it.”

You all voted for it last September, she said, reminding members of the newly launched, but long term initiative. Additionally, she acknowledged Slyman and Alterman for doing so much hard work, finally announcing the two educators’ names publicly.

Petit then enthusiastically captured the moment, telling the club it had “finally arrived at [a key] point.”

This is like a culmination of a dream of our running club, right?” he said. “The primary mission of this running club is to promote running and offering a scholarship to the next generation is part of that mission.”

While Petit cited the need to select good students who cared about their communities and “wanted to give back,” Castellano definitely fits that description. While he hopes to become an environmental engineer someday, he’s currently a religious instructor and assistant basketball coach, among other accolades.

I just wanted to thank Ray and Sonya for this wonderful scholarship -- it’s a lot of money and I really appreciate it,” he told everyone, noting that he’d be going directly to Rutgers School of Engineering next year.

So hopefully I’ll be around to run with you guys soon, but I wanted to come and say thank you to everyone,” said the student. “This is a great club, so thank you guys.”

Running is one of those parts of life that never goes away,” added Castellano.

Second Winner

Nicole Tedesco, a graduate of Franklin High School, was the other RVRR, annual, inaugural scholarship fund winner; on July 27 she received her own $1,000 check made payable to Ocean County College, located in Toms River, NJ.

She was recently present at the RVRR 2021 Summer Cross Country Series, held in Donaldson Park, NJ, for the second race of 2021, to collect the award with a smile. RVRR’s series traditionally includes four races and the next event is scheduled for August 24th 2021. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the series.

Tedesco joins the freshman class at Ocean County College this fall where she intends to become certified in early childhood education and intends to teach in the Garden State following completion of her certification program.

Tedesco was the captain of both the girl's cross county and indoor track teams while in high school. She noted that running has had a “tremendously positive impact” on everything she does in life.

I plan to contribute to the running community for a long time and specifically to children by continuing to coach in the future.”


By Dave Schatz